You Never Know

If you’re a regular subscriber to Penn & Beyond, you have likely noticed my “Day in the Life” blog posts recently.  These posts promote our latest social media initiative, our @PennCareerDay Twitter account.  The account features Penn alumni who tweet for a day in order to give you, the student/alumni/career seeker, a better idea of what their day is like.   The idea behind this Twitter account is part of a larger concept I’d like to draw your attention to in this particular blog post – leveraging new communication technologies to your advantage.

The alumni who tweet for @PennCareerDay are examples of people who are using Twitter to promote themselves and their work, which could then expand their network and create new opportunities.   There is no guarantee, but nevertheless, the possibility exists.  I am a firm believer that if you tap into new resources, like social media, when more traditional ones have not brought success, you are increasing your chance to succeed.  For instance, if you are extremely interested in an employer, find out if they have a Twitter account, like their Facebook page, maybe even subscribe to their YouTube channel and start interacting with them there.

from @boetter, Flickr

I am heavily involved in social media – I manage our office’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence – and I maintain that it does not have to be used by everyone.  BUT, if you have not looked into how you could leverage these platforms to your advantage, I encourage you to.  You never know what opportunities might come up.

A Day in the Life: Early-Stage Venture Firm

Read Ben Siscovick’s archived tweet feed here:

Ever wonder, what’s it like to work at an early-stage venture firm? Follow @PennCareerDay ( on Thursday, September 16th when Ben Siscovick (CAS ’04) of IA Ventures tweets about his career and his day.

Ben Siscovick, CAS '04

Ben Siscovick has been working at IA Ventures (and previously IA Capital Partners) since graduating from business school. Prior to joining IA Ventures, Ben was a junior investment banker at Allen & Company and Barclays Capital. Ben began his career as a web entrepreneur and founding partner at D202 – a full service web development and consulting firm focused on online communities and social networks. In addition to his role on the IA Ventures investment team, Ben assists with select operating and strategic projects at Kinetic Trading Strategies, an IA Ventures incubation focused on extracting tradable intelligence from unstructured and alternative data. Ben earned his B.A. in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, where he was the Early Stage President of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club.

To learn more about Ben, visit

Joining LinkedIn to Take the Lead in Your Job Search

By Kelly Cleary

If you haven’t already, you should certainly consider joining LinkedIn, one of the most important and effective tools in your job search kit these days. I’m sure you’re at least familiar with the social network, often referred to as the professional version of Facebook, but nearly every day I talk with students and alumni who aren’t using this basically free resource to its potential so I think it’s worth another mention in this blog.

If you don’t already have an account with an up-to-date profile, you should since your LinkedIn profile is usually one of the first hits a person finds when they Google your name.  And employers certainly are using social networking sites to find and check up on potential candidates (See Most Businesses Use Social Nets for Hiring from Your LinkedIn profile is a great way to be proactive in creating an impressive professional presence online.

Here are a couple of tips for making the most of LinkedIn for your job search:

Finding & Making Contacts

Advanced People Search If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the Penn Alumni Career Network PACNet, you can search for alums (or even people with whom you don’t have a common affiliation) who work in the fields and/or organizations that interest you  by using the Advanced People Search function. You can view profiles of professionals in your field of interest to see sample career paths and gather ideas for prospective employers.

Make It Personal If you want to “connect” with people (like “friending” on FB) you should always include a personalized message introducing yourself and explaining why you want to connect. I very rarely accept an invitation that doesn’t come with some type of note that explains why a person wants to connect with me, and I think most people who don’t fall into the friend/contact collector camp take the same approach.

Making Contact If someone is one of your contacts or is a member of one of your group affiliations, you can contact them directly through LinkedIn to ask specific career related questions or to request an informational interview. With an upgraded account you can send direct messages to people who are not your connections to ask for advice. Personally I haven’t upgraded. If I want to contact someone who is not in my list of “contacts”, I use Google searches, employer websites, and the general Penn directory to find email address of people with whom I want to connect. While this is more like cold calling, if it’s done respectfully and professionally, it can be worthwhile.

Joining Groups

There are thousands of groups in LinkedIn (i.e. alumni affiliations, specific industries, national and regional professional association etc.) where people share job postings and other career-related information, and they also serve as a forum for asking questions and gathering answers from more experienced professionals. Joining groups, both industry-related and personal history related (like joining the UPenn alumni group) is an important first step toward maximizing the benefits of using LinkedIn to advance your job search.

Want to learn more about maximizing the benefits of LinkedIn? This overview of LinkedIn will help you get started.

For more general information about networking visit our Making Contacts page.

Tweet Your Way to a Job

by Shannon C. Kelly

Are you on Twitter?  If you are, you may have an advantage over your fellow job seekers, or at least the UK’s Lancaster University Management School said so in a recent article.  The 140 character limit that distinguishes Twitter from other social networks has tapped into individuals’ talent for being succinct in their writing.  How does this factor into your job search? The bullet points on your resume, introductions at networking events, or answering questions quickly and concisely in an interview are a few examples of moments where you need to be brief.

Social media platforms like Twitter are great tools to utilize if traditional avenues are falling a bit short in your job search.  They can also be useful in not only building your professional skills, but showcasing them.

If you’re on Twitter, follow us for career advice – @PennCareerServ.

The articles that inspired this blog post can be found at:

What’s the 411 and what do I do with it?

By Sharon Fleshman

Lately, I’ve been amazed at how much information is at our immediate disposal these days. Recent innovations have opened up more sources than ever before…. text messages, blogs, RSS feeds, LinkedIn or Facebook updates, tweets, wikis … the possibilities are endless. The temptation with such a flow is to either become overwhelmed or get distracted. I must confess that I’ve been guilty of both. For this reason, I encourage you to come up with a system to make the most of social media and other online resources that can facilitate your networking, job search or career development goals without monopolizing your time. Perhaps you’ll decide to spend 15 minutes a day on your Twitter account, sorting through tweets to see what’s most relevant to you. Maybe you will touch base with one contact from a LinkedIn alumni group per month to build your network.

Over the past year, our office has made quite a bit of progress in terms of leveraging social media as a means of receiving and sharing career-related information. Check out the following resources to learn more.

Creating an Online Persona-A good primer to get you started or help you manage the online presence you already have.

Penn Career Services Social Media page-A good starting place for finding resources from Career Services on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Webinars for Jobseekers-Webinars with a special focus on using LinkedIn for your job search.